Which nMP for Lightroom and PS work only?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by arbitrage, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. arbitrage macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 19, 2009
    #1
    I was hoping to get some information from the more knowledgeable on here about which nMP would provide the most "bang for the buck" if all I would want the performance for is editing photos in Lightroom and very occasional Photoshop work.
    Currently I do all my LR work on my 15" rMBP (top end from the initial release) as it is much faster than my 2010 iMac. However, I'd like to setup a better desktop solution and hope to drive a 4K display in the future on it either one of the new Dells or a future 4K Apple Display if it comes to market.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that LR and PS mostly only use CPU power and are not benefited by GPU very much if at all. Mostly I just want to speed up my import where I have LR generate 1:1 previews and also to move between modules and just overall speed up the LR process.

    Would the lowest nMP config be a reasonable alternative, or would there be a justifiable gain to spend more and move up to a higher end version? If so, what upgrades would benefit my use the most?

    Thanks for any suggestions or just give me a good schooling!!
     
  2. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #2
    It uses cpu and loading speed, which is dependent on the speed of the drive that stores the image files. Adobe's guide on the subject is pretty accurate, aside from the suggestion to defragment drives under Windows 7. As they mention, gpus are unimportant as long as they can drive the screen at its native and have up to date drivers.
     
  3. raw911 macrumors regular

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    Mar 24, 2003
    #3
    I to am interested in this answer. I also use LR5 however I've been getting alotta video editing jobs which I dive into FCP 7 & FCP X also avid MC along with after effects. I'm getting either Pegasus or big5 disk for storage. I'd like to know if 256gb is snuff flash?

    Thinking of 1tb (trying to future proof) cause this has to last me A WHILE.
     
  4. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #4
    From what I know, Adobe products (particularly Photoshop) are good at leveraging all parts of the system at various points in the workflow... storage I/O for loading, saving, scratch... memory for large images and layers... GPU for some filter effects... and CPU for manipulating images.

    So the entry-level Mac Pro is going to offer you a great combination of all the performance you need. It has super fast SSD, you can easily and cheaply equip it with 16GB or 32GB of RAM, and it comes with a high clocked Quad and a couple of very decent GPUs (equivalent to a pair of W7000s). In my opinion, adding anything on top of this (for photo editing) is moving into diminishing returns... in other words, any improvements will be very incremental.

    I'm planning to buy the entry-level Quad with D300s and max out the SSD and get 32GB of RAM. I think that will make the ultimate photo editing workstation. If you're a photographer, there's a lot of other things competing for your disposable income. Make sure you're investing adequately in all aspects of your workflow from capture to post.

    ----------

    Apple has been talking about an update to FCP to take full advantage of the new Mac Pro, so it may be worth investing in the 6-core and D500 GPUs for this, or waiting to see just what the update can leverage that makes sense to your budget.
     
  5. arbitrage thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Thank you very much VirtualRain for your in depth response. You've told me what I wanted to hear!! Base model and some ram upgrades sound like a good solution. I only do photography as a serious hobby so I don't have to look at purchases in a business sense which is nice.

    I wonder when Apple will let us see the config options? Seems odd they still haven't let us play around with configs on the store. Hopefully soon but maybe not till release day I guess.
     
  6. cliffa macrumors newbie

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    Dec 8, 2013
    #6
    I'm pretty much in the same boat you are. I've decided to go with the base system upgraded to the 6-core CPU and larger SSD. I currently have an 8-core 2008 model. Lightroom heavily loads all the cores quite often, while Photoshop tends to max out just one or two cores and has only a few things that use the GPU (although I use Liquify a *lot*). I think the base upgraded to a hex will give me a good mix of high-speed cores (that can burst up to 3.9ghz) and a decent GPU, the upgraded GPUs in the base hex model would likely be wasted on LR/PS work. I'd probably step up to the 8-core CPU, but I'm pretty sure that'll be out of my budget.
     
  7. Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 13, 2013
    #7
    I would agree that the base model should be great for photography (another use I'm going to put mine to). For me however I'd probably forgo upgrading the internal flash, as some fast SSD's in TB would probably work as well and be more cost effective.
     
  8. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #8
    Even if you were doing it professionally, it would be a good buy. The one thing photographers do that can be quite time consuming is massive amounts of raw processing. If you have to process 1000 or more, it takes some time. It's still way less time consuming to edit than film was.
     
  9. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    Mar 10, 2009
    #9
    Those are available right now.

    http://www.apple.com/mac-pro/specs/


    The options are listed. There are no "buttons" or check boxes to click, but they are listed.
     
  10. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    Mar 10, 2009
    #10
    If aiming to hold onto this Mac Pro for a substantive amount time then there isn't a static answer to that.

    Photoshp CS5 OpenGL FAQ
    http://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/gpu-opengl-support-photoshop-cs4.html

    Photoshop CS 6 GPU FAQ
    http://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/photoshop-cs6-gpu-faq.html

    Photoshop CC GPU FAQ
    http://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/photoshop-cs6-gpu-faq1.html

    Over time there are changes and OpenGL (and OpenCL) accelerations are creeping in over time. One issue which may accelerate the rate from the previous 3 years is that Apple has finally uncorked OpenGL up to version 4 finally with 10.9. The computational aspects of OpenGL v4 are likely going to find their way into Adobe products over time as Adobe raises the "floor" level of the operating systems their apps support. If Windows and OS X both support a feature then it isn't that hard for Adobe to add it to the common base library they use for their cross-platform apps.

    There is a fairly good chance that 2-3 years out a decent amount of work will be kicked out to at least one of D300s in a entry Mac Pro.


    If there is no commercial benefit to "faster", then the basic new Mac Pro should do.

    You can measure after have one but RAM may help if the images or individual images are relatively large then may be bumping into limits.
    Maxing out on Apple SSDs, especially for non commercial work is weakly justified.
     
  11. arbitrage thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 19, 2009
    #11
    Oh yeah, I knew about that, I guess what I meant is to see the prices!!
     
  12. td2243 macrumors 6502

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    Mar 14, 2013
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    Santa Fe, NM
    #12

    I am in this boat as well. I know I want a 6-core just so I can get more life out of it. I'm not planning on buying a new computer in 3 years. I want a bigger than 256SSD, but the 1TB is just too much money.

    For me: base model upgraded to 6-core, 500GB SSD

    I would get the 6-core base model, but with the SSD upgrade, it's just too much money. The one I have listed above is already a huge stretch, but it will be worth it. I get the edumacational discount, so that will knock off a bit. I do quite a bit of video editing and I plan on getting set up with Pro-Tools 11 and a good interface.


    I'm actually pretty perturbed that they haven't at least put the cost options on the site. I can't spend $3-4K on a whim. I wish I could!
     
  13. Macshroomer macrumors 65816

    Macshroomer

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    Dec 6, 2009
    #13
    Yeah, I would not be so fast to assume that, you can not currently buy a 3rd party version of the brand new PCIe flash SSD drives that Apple is putting in these MacPros that are likely the very same ones in the new MacBook Pros that just came out. It's not just about capacity, the 1TB version is twice as fast as any SATA-III SSD option at 1,000Mb/s, I have it in my new Retina MacBook Pro....it's ridiculously fast.

    ----------

    Mehhh...not really, I shoot for a full time living and and I am *really* happy to say that this last round of computer upgrades is likely my last *period*, I have gone almost completely back to film, mostly medium and large format black and white fine art in a real darkroom. I can edit rolls or sheets of film very fast, pick the neg I need to either scan or print and be good to go.

    With digital I was dealing with 1-2TB of files per year, backup, a big pain in the rear end. I make a silver gel print in my darkroom, dry it, outsource the spotting, mounting and matting and the sale price reflects that. Boom, done. It's one of the main reasons I am not interested in buying the new MacPro, I just won't need it, digital is quickly becoming a has been for me, I'll just hire a Summer intern for my video work and archiving, life is good.
     
  14. ybz90, Dec 8, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013

    ybz90 macrumors 6502a

    ybz90

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    #14
    I apologize if I'm beating a dead horse here, but maybe you should consider one of the other Mac desktops rather than a Pro. Based on your uses, you don't really need the dual-GPUs and getting a baseline Mac Pro isn't that much better in terms of raw CPU power. You might even be better served as far as a price/performance standpoint by getting an older Mac Pro as for less than the nMP, you can get far superior CPU performance.

    As a reference, my upgraded 2009 MP gets ~26k Geekbench for under $1500 total, with some legwork on my part to find good deals on the original computer and CPUs. It can easily be done for under $2000 including a nice GPU. While I'll still be getting a nMP for work (as my lab will be footing the bill), to match the power of my cMP, I'd have to get the 8-core nMP or better, which will likely be well over the $4000 barrier as the 6-core starts at that much.

    Just some food for thought.

    EDIT: Geekbench is a flawed benchmark but it's an Apples to Apples comparison. The nMP's quad-core gets around 13k, the hexacore gets 18k, and the 8-core gets 25k. Keep in mind though these are preliminary as there aren't many submissions yet, but it's in the ballpark. Only the top of the line E5-2697 v2 12-core CPU cleanly bests my set up at 33k.
     
  15. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #15
    Well the awkward thing with digital has always been storage. It was much easier to store transparencies in those snap together black plastic notebook things filled with the plastic sheets. This was in the very early 2000s for me until the P25. I'm pretty far removed from that anything art related today though.
     
  16. canyonlight macrumors member

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    Arizona
    #16
  17. Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    I've done both too and FWIW find digital work an order of magnitude easier than managing film and print. A Synology 1211+ makes backup trivial and all work is done on the MP. A professional photographer friend has the same arrangement. It probably depends on whatever you are most comfortable with, digital or physical, but certainly few photographers still use film, despite the inevitable mini-resurgance.
     
  18. arbitrage thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 19, 2009
    #18
    One other reason that I only brushed over in my OP was that I want to run a 4K display off of it and likely 2 4K displays eventually. I'm way too used to my rMBP that I can't even stand looking at my 27" iMac any more. Once you are used to editing on high dpi displays it is very hard to go back. For now the nMP seems to be the best option to have power and be able to have 4K displays running. That is why I'm considering it more than an older MacPro or iMac or even running a rMBP hooked up to a display ( I think the newest one can drive a 4K at 30hz via HDMI but I don't think my current older rMBP can do that??)
     
  19. arbitrage thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 19, 2009
    #19
    Thanks for all the good input from everyone who has posted. My current thoughts are now going along these lines. Order either the 4-core or upgrade the 4 to 6 core but don't buy the base 6-core as no need for the better GPUs. Upgrade to 1TB internal as the benchmarks coming off the new rMBP with the 1tB are outstanding. Leave Ram at base and upgrade second hand through OWC or elsewhere. Buy 4K display:D

    How does that sound so far? Any more input is still appreciated.
     
  20. Bear macrumors G3

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    #20
    It will probably be less expensive to get memory elsewhere, you should still check Apple's price as there have been a couple of times where you would have only save a few dollars going with third party memory.

    Other than that it sounds like you know what you need.
     
  21. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #21
    I had a look through that page, and I couldn't see any kind of analysis or recommendation? Did I miss something other than an affection for his current Mac Pro?

    You need to keep in mind that this guy makes money off his blog, and just looking the name of it, you know his bias and can conclude he's clearly one of those who's going to be affected by the lack of upgrades to the nMP.

    He's also a hardware enthusiast, and so tends to love and test the most extreme (and expensive) hardware. So I wouldn't expect a recommendation from him for the pragmatic hobby photographer.

    Anyway, I'm not saying he doesn't have helpful information from time to time, but in this case, I didn't see any.

    I think that's a smart move. I'm basically doing the same unless Apple reveals some huge new version of Aperture before I order that steers me in another direction.

    BTW, SuperBiz has memory for the nMP at a reasonable price... If Apple's BTO option for 32GB is much more than $400, it looks like this may be a good option.
     
  22. Macshroomer macrumors 65816

    Macshroomer

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    #22
    Oh, I am comfortable with it, I just don't want to do it as much anymore, I feel like that I am really making something in my darkroom, not so much with digital after two decades of use. That and the fact that these days everyone and his pet bird thinks they are a photographer and the price I get for a real silver gel print is at least 3x times higher, its a no brainer at this point.

    That being said, I think the hardware I have in my sig is going to work for a long time, it's plenty robust for D800 files and scanning if I need to do that not to mention the video work I direct.

    ----------

    Sounds like a lot of not-so-tax-deductable dough for an amateur camera owner, knock yer' self out, LOL!
     
  23. iBug2 macrumors 68040

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    Jun 12, 2005
    #23
    The new Quad won't get 13K. My rMBP gets 13500. The Quad will be heads and shoulders above my machine. (3.7 GHz vz 2.7 Ghz CPU, faster memory and faster bandwidth) It'll get at least 16-17K at 64 Bit.
     
  24. ybz90 macrumors 6502a

    ybz90

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    #24
    Most mid/high end graphics cards can easily run 4K. The FirePros in the nMPs are actually not so impressive in terms of hardware.

    ----------

    Specific numbers notwithstanding, the ballpark is reasonable and my point stands. The E5-1620 v2 is nothing special.
     
  25. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #25
    If can't afford the basic $3K entry model then not going to be able to afford the $2K and $3K 8 and 12 core options to the entry model. The 'missing' prices aren't all that hard to figure out if really want to. They are extremely likely to be priced along the same lines as the other Mac BTO components are. CPUs about 30% higher than Intel lists. RAM and SSDs higher still of 3rd party options. The only one that is a wild card is just how high the D700 goes.
     

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